Reducing demand for electricity is the quickest and cheapest way to relieve the crisis and rising tariffs, the Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry said on Tuesday.
The job should however be given to an independent body, chamber president Janine Myburgh said in a statement.
“It is not realistic to expect Eskom to run electricity saving schemes because they have their hands full and we don’t need to distract them from the critical job of overhauling their power stations.”
She suggested the trade and industry department get involved and look at solar water heaters as a job creating industry.
It was necessary to have a national policy for demand-side management. The SA Bureau of Standards and engineering faculties at universities should help manufacturers improve their product.
Chairman of the chamber’s industrial focus portfolio committee Peter Haylett said the retail price of electricity was so high that alternatives had become viable to supplement or replace grid electricity.
“The beauty of this approach is that it would be funded by the private sector and should not require any subsidy,” he said.
Subsidising consumers or manufacturers seldom made sense.
“What we need to do is help the manufacturers of products like solar water heaters with technical assistance to bring down costs and create more competition in the industry.”